Self-repair plasma-fueled rocket fuel has a life expectancy much longer than the time required to fly to Mars will be the "immortal" vehicle that takes people to the Red planet.
According to Science Alert, the Saturn V missile is used to bring people to the Moon before using two types of engines. First, chemical reaction explosions occurred to propel the spacecraft into orbit, then about 3.7 million liters of fuel types were used to bring the Apollo to the Moon.
The distance from Earth to Mars is about 100 times that of the Moon, so if you use the same technology, at least dozens of Saturn V.
According to calculations by scientists, there are still only chemical explosions that can create repulsive force large enough for the winning spacecraft to attract Earth. But after getting into orbit, it is possible to use plasma fuel missiles instead, with the advantage of saving about 90% of fuel mass, which means that it can carry up to 10 times the weight of the tool. research machines.
This is a new technology rocket that can turn fuel into charged particles, also called plasma , spraying outward to push the spacecraft forward.
Illustrating the spacecraft Dawn uses plasma missiles.(Photo: NASA).
The missile was used in the Dawn spacecraft, launched by the US Aerospace Agency (NASA) in 2007 to study the two largest members of the Vesta asteroid belt and the dwarf planet Ceres.
The main drawback of this type of missile is that its thrust is quite weak, so the speed of the rocket is quite slow. The most powerful plasma rocket currently flying in space, Hall Thruster only managed to overcome the gravity of the Earth acting on a sheet of paper.
However, this is not a major concern. Plasma fuels, or positively charged ions, tend to destroy anything that touches them. The attraction between negative charges on the spacecraft wall with positive ions will cause these ions to plunge into the ship wall at great speed. This process is repeated over a long period of time and will gradually destroy the ship's wall as the engine stops working.
To solve this problem, scientists are testing the type of vessel that can repair itself. The self-repair principle of this type of ship comes from two phenomena. The first phenomenon occurs with spiked or protruding microscopic surfaces. When positive ions collide with the wall of the ship, causing the walls of the ship to pop out, thanks to this surface structure, some will be retained. The number that does not return will be processed by the second phenomenon.
The particles when they bounce from the neutral ship wall into electricity, but because of the surrounding plasma environment, they will quickly be ionized and become positively charged particles, being repelled by the negatively charged vessel. This phenomenon is called plasma deposition , which can be controlled by changing plasma density and temperature.
In 2014, a research team from the University of California, USA conducted the first phenomenon test. They built a surface with micro properties as above and adjusted so that no plasma deposition would occur and the result was to reduce the damage of the ship wall by 20%. The group hopes by improving micro surfaces, can achieve 50% results. The study was published in Plasma magazine Sources Science and Technology in March 2014.
Next step, the team will test both phenomena at the same time to see how much damage is actually reduced. As Plasma missiles become more powerful in the future, the level of damage to the ship walls will also increase, emphasizing the importance of self-repair study of the ship walls.
The goal of the researchers was to design a rocket with materials that lasted 10 times the time of flying to Mars, which could be considered "immortal."